Predictably, the discussion about materialism engendered more questions than answers. One of the things that became clear as I read Lindsay’s post was that I’m not really sure how well I understand what materialism really is. Just goes to show us how the body of Christ works. Thanks, Lindsay! Here are the questions; maybe later in the week I’ll see how well God’s Word can answer some of them.
- Can I be materialistic and poor? materialistic and have no possessions?
- Is materialism defined by what we own, or how we obtain what we own, or how we think about what we own, or some combination of all of these?
- What are the Bible words to look for when considering this topic? greed? trust? stewardship? loving the world? respect of persons? riches?
- How do I know if I’m trusting in riches?
- How do I know if I love money?
- Does using things to serve God make having things okay?
- Does it matter how we get things? Gifts from grandparents, name brand clothes from thrift stores, Craig’s List?
- If a person gave me an entire household of things, would it be wrong to keep it? would it matter what we keep? property? furniture? toys? boats, expensive cars, exotic pets?
- If I have the money to buy something more expensive that will last longer than the same item half its price, is that materialistic?
- Is it wrong to invest money for the purpose of serving God? Is it wrong to invest money for retirement?
- If I determine that I purchased or obtained something out of greed or for the purpose of trusting in riches, should I get rid of it?
- Is it wrong to purchase something for our children that others cannot afford? Let’s suppose that traveling to visit missionaries is a valuable experience for our children. Few people could afford to take their children on multiple trips overseas, but if I can, should I feel guilty for doing it? How about art lessons or musical instruments and lessons from a well-known and expensive teacher? the expense of Christian college?
- Will my children see money and wealth differently than children who grow up in homes with less money? Is that bad?
- Should we ever discuss the state of our finances with our children? Is it better for them to think that we are poor, if we are not?
I think that’s enough for now. Feel free to add to the list of questions, or give me a head start on answers!
Diane Heeney says
Many have pointed out that the scripture says the LOVE of money is the issue, not money itself. That verse is so often misquoted. Money is a tool…I believe things (possessions) are as well. Neither is a security, nor are they to be that which identifies us or “possesses US”. It is important to bear in mind the scripture, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 Covetousness can take the deceitfulness of our hearts in directions we never imagined….consider Ahab.
Ours is a “build more barns” generation…this could prompt some very important and lengthy discussion! =) Mind if I borrow this set of questions (I may have use for them in an upcoming panel discussion)?
Diane– Thanks for these thoughts. The deceitfulness of my own heart os partly why I’ve been tugging on this topic for awhile. It’s easy for me to say, “I’m not covetous,” but I want God to search my heart and reveal what’s inside. Pray for me. And you’re welcome to borrow the questions.